Saturday, July 27, 2013

It was Hecatera bicolorata

This morning I rediscovered the small caterpillar I had spotted yesterday on a photograph of smooth hawksbeard (Crepis capillaris).

It is that of a broad-barred white moth (Hecatera bicolorata).

Particularly satisfying to have recorded a new plant in the window box in spring, seen it flower and run to seed, and to have to discovered a caterpillar feeding on it that I also had not recorded before. 

The larvae of this moth is said to feed mainly on hawksbeards and hawkweeds and its position on the stem with its head thrust into a hole to get at the ripening seeds is characteristic.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Smooth hawksbeard performs

The plant of smooth hawksbeard, Crepis capillaris, growing rather uncomfortably on the small rock in the window box produced several flowers earlier this month.

Within a couple of weeks they had run to seed and the 'parachutes' had already departed from one.

As is often the case, when looking through the pictures I noticed a rather fine caterpillar on the plant (see below, lower right).

I went out with a torch to see if I could find it but it had gone.  I found a fine green lacewing though - more of that in a future post.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Phyllody of white clover

Phyllody is the abnormal development of parts of the flowers of various plants as leaves, often with considerable distortion of the bloom.

Some of the white clover, Trifolium pratense, in the window box has developed in this way.

The condition is caused by a mycoplasma, a kind of virus, said to be transmitted by plant hoppers such as Aphrodes bicinctus.


I do rather wonder if my earlier discovery of four-leaved and five-leaved clovers in WBX may have been due to this condition.

Monday, July 08, 2013

More on white clover

Having found a four-leaved clover on 29 May, I found a five-leaved clover, also in the window box a few days later.

20130521 WBX 5-leaved clover

In the last few years hairy tare has been the dominant non-woody plant in the box, but this year white clover, Trifolium repens, has excelled itself and there is only one rather feeble plant of the tare.

The photos below were taken on 4 July with the clover in full bloom.